A captain’s innings by Yaseen Vallie paved the way for the Warriors to secure their first win of the One-Day Cup season when they overcame the Knights by 50 runs in Bloemfontein on Friday.
The right-hander struck an unbeaten 90 off 89 balls (5 fours, 1 six) as his teammates sunk around him to help the hosts scrap their way to 214 all out in a match reduced to 42 overs per side at the Mangaung Oval.
Left-arm quick Stefan Tait then capped a fine debut by grabbing 3-27 as the visitors were dismissed for 164 in 37.2 overs.
Dyllan Matthews was also among the wickets, bagging 3-39 in the Free State capital.
But it was his skipper, Vallie, who earlier made all the difference with his critical innings. After he lost the toss and was asked to bat, he saw his top order rolled over as they slipped to 44-3 inside 10 overs.
That was thanks in the main to pick-of-the-bowlers Shaun von Berg (3-31).
But Vallie rallied the middle and lower order, with his main support coming from Marco Marais (32) as the Eastern Cape franchise managed to fight to set 215 when they were dismissed with four balls of the innings remaining.
Another spinner, Tshepo Ntuli, was the other key bowler for the Knights, picking up 3-46.
The Knights, who were dismissed for 115 against the Dolphins six days earlier, were even more dire with the bat.
Matthews caused their top order problems with his turn, which left them reeling at 91-5. Stand-in captain Wandile Makwetu battled hard with his innings of 35, although that was never going to be enough.
Tait and Sisanda Magala (2-36) then dashed through the tail to hand the Central Franchise a second successive loss.
Photo: Gallo Images